I was talking with someone about that NBA strike and he asked if I thought it was pointless given that they went back to work the next day. My take on it was, no, I think that doing a temporary strike was good tactics. Not necessarily for economic reasons—I have no idea about that—but from a political perspective. Assuming the strike was a way for the players to show their concerns about problems with the police, I think it was savvy for them to cancel one day but not the whole season.
Why do I say this? My thoughts here have nothing to do with sports or labor relations or policing and everything to do with news reporting, which is typically driven by news. Sometimes a news organization will do a crusade and try to drum up enthusiasm about an issue on its own, but usually news reporting requires new news, things like court dates, congressional hearings, protests, or . . . labor disputes. My theory is that if the NBA players just canceled the rest of the season, that would be it. A big news story and then then the next day it gets forgotten, just like we’re no longer talking about Steve Bannon or that Russian dude who got poisoned. We’ll talk about them again when they’re in the news again, if/when there are legal proceedings, but no new news means no news. We’d just move on and start talking about the football season. But the temporary strike, that’s perfect: it gets the headlines, but now the NBA playoffs are resuming, so we’re continuing to talk about the NBA, and now every conversation about the NBA includes a conversation about the NBA strike and, from there, the police.
Even big news stories can disappear from view when there’s no drip, drip, drip of new news.
I’m sure there must be research on this general topic.